Congress rally sidelights
Capt slams former loyalist
Taking a dig at his one-time loyalist and SAD MLA from Talwandi Sabo Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, Amarinder accused the former of backstabbing him and the party. “He (Sidhu) has backstabbed me. This amounts to backstabbing the party. Don’t expect any leniency from me if you do something wrong,” he said.
Competition on dais
The dais was full of Congress leaders that made Fatehgarh Sahib MLA Kuljit Nagra say that it looked like a mini rally. Then Ferozepur MLA Parminder Singh Pinki and former MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar entered into a tiff as to who would stand near Amarinder as he stood up to speak. Kangar told Pinki that it was his right as he hailed from the area whereas Pinki’s constituency was far.
The rally had a good dose of entertainment with folk singer Balkar Sidhu and party MLA and singer Mohammad Siddique belting out popular numbers. Another singer, Hans Raj Hans, also made the audience raise slogans of ‘Jo bole so nihal’. All three also sang verses from Gurbani.
‘Badal a circus lion’
Calling Amarinder as the real lion, Manpreet Badal dubbed CM Parkash Singh Badal as a “circus lion” whose ‘tamasha’ (show) would end soon. In an emotional speech, Manpreet swore by his children that he had no tacit understanding with the Badals over joining the Congress.
SAD rally sidelights
BJP gives rally a miss
The entire BJP leadership was conspicuous by its absence from the Baisakhi rally of its alliance partner SAD.
‘Ikko naara, kisan piyara’
That’s the new slogan the ruling Akali Dal coined in an anxious bid to connect with its core constituency, the farmers.
Servant of Sikhs
“Chief servant of the Sikhs,” is how SAD senior leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder described CM Parkash Singh Badal.
Charging up the crowd, deputy CM Sukhbir Badal raised slogans “Congress nu Punjab vicho kadange atte topianwale nu bhajavange.”
Before reaching the venue, Sukhbir took an aerial survey of Talwandi Sabo, apparently to take stock of the crowd situation in rival camps.
AAP rally sidelights
Punjab AAP affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh said the country had two big “jumlebaaz” politicians; one was PM Narendra Modi and the other Sukhbir Badal. “Sukhbir says he will run buses on water, hold meetings on Mars!”
Not missing Kejriwal
None of the speakers expressly addressed the absence of Arvind Kejriwal at the rally, though he mentioned as a “messiah” by many. The strategy was not to bring the absence into focus, said a party adviser later.
Cops in speeches
Police who were stationed in significant numbers in the rally were the subject of several mentions by speakers. While one speaker said all the police personnel except the IPS officers were with them, another promised to regularise all 12,000 Home Guards into Punjab Police.
Jarnail counters ‘piao’ charge
AAP’s Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh sought to debunk the SAD’s blame on the Delhi government for the demolition of piao outside Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi, underlining that the BJP ruled the municipal corporation and the Modi government controlled the police in the capital.
Bhagwant Mann in his speech said that Punjab was prosperous “but only on PTC, a Badal-owned news channel”
Of four AAP MPs, two who were absent are rebels and thus suspended from party and one is Bhagwant Mann, but Faridkot MP Sadhu Singh was also conspicuous by his absence.
Sanjay targets Majithia
Despite facing a defamation case, Punjab AAP affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh again alleged that Majithia was behind the drug menace in the state.